Volunteers living in an area where schistosomiasis mansoni is endemic were subjected to ultrasound examination and classified into groups according to the levels of fibrosis diagnosed, namely, absence of indications of fibrosis (group 0), incipient fibrosis (group 1), and moderate/severe fibrosis (group 2). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected from the volunteers were stimulated with soluble antigens from adult schistosomes or from schistosome eggs, and the production of the cytokines gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor alpha, transforming growth factor β(TGF-β), interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-10, and IL-13 was determined. Potential associations of the level of fibrosis with age, sex, intensity of infection, and cytokine production were investigated between the three groups. Univariate analysis identified associations of age (>50), gender (male), and absence of eggs/g of feces with moderate/severe fibrosis and an association of intensity of infection (>100 eggs) with incipient fibrosis. When cytokine production in PBMC cultures stimulated by soluble egg antigens was categorized as low or high, significant differences in the distribution of IL-13 levels were established between groups 0 and 2. No significant differences were detected between the groups in the cytokines produced by PBMC cultures stimulated with soluble antigens from adult schistosomes. When all variables were tested in multivariate analyses, only IL-13 was strongly associated with fibrosis (odds ratio = 5.8; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1 to 30.5). While high levels of TGF-β appeared to be associated with protection against fibrosis, the strength of the association was low.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases